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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Bentley Year In Infrastructure 2016 – Integrating GIS and BIM

November 3rd, 2016 by Susan Smith

It’s difficult not to be inspired when attending the Bentley Year In Infrastructure Conference, with so many talented professionals gathered to show off their infrastructure projects.

Innovation in Rail and Transit Winner: Bandedamark - New Line, Copenhagen-Ringsted, Copenhagen Capital Region, Denmark

Innovation in Rail and Transit Winner: Bandedamark – New Line, Copenhagen-Ringsted, Copenhagen Capital Region, Denmark. Image Courtesy of Bentley Systems

The Bentley Year In Infrastructure 2016 Conference kicked off in London at the Hilton London Metropole on Monday, bringing together the finalists in the BE Inspired Awards juried competition for excellence in various categories, including Reality Modeling, Bridges, Water Treatment Plants, Offshore, Water Network Analysis, Structures, Construction, Manufacturing, Rail and Transit, Building, Utilities and Communication, Government, Roads and much more. Journalists from around the world also flocked to the event.

Innovation in Government finalist: Research and Design institute for Urban Transportation "MosgortransNIIproekt" – Comprehensive Engineering Plan of the Road Infrastructure in Moscow – (Moscow, Russia) Image Courtesy of Bentley Systems

Innovation in Government finalist: Research and Design institute for Urban Transportation “MosgortransNIIproekt” – Comprehensive Engineering Plan of the Road Infrastructure in Moscow – (Moscow, Russia) Image Courtesy of Bentley Systems

This year, over 300 projects were submitted to the awards from numerous countries. The finalists, pared down to three in each category, offer presentations about their projects, which in many cases, have spanned many years in process, full of many seemingly insurmountable obstacles. The good news generally is that in the end, the finalists have solved the major problems, satisfied their stakeholders and have a lot to be proud of.

More on the finalists and their projects can be seen:

2016 Event Photos

Bentley Year In Infrastructure Conference

Bentley thought leaders also use the opportunity to announce new products and partnerships.

The event also provides a full complement of keynotes and forums on topics of interest to GIS and AEC users, some of which I will cover in separate articles. The combination of GIS with Building Information Modeling is an area Bentley has spent a lot of time on with their CONNECTEdition offerings.

Innovation in Reality Modeling Winner: City of Helsinki – Helsinki 3D+ – (Helsinki, Finland). Image Courtesy of Bentley Systems

Innovation in Reality Modeling Winner: City of Helsinki – Helsinki 3D+ – (Helsinki, Finland). Image Courtesy of Bentley Systems

Bentley’s suite of tools are transitioning over to the CONNECTEdition, Bentley’s platform for connecting all the tools together and providing live documentation.

The phrase heard often during the Bentley conference was “going digital.” While we talk about digital, it appears that many companies are still dealing with analog in their day to day solutions.

The “common data environment” is where Bentley envisions hosting software in the cloud in a central location on behalf of the owner. The owner may Bentley to run the software for them. Within this framework, they can integrate different tools in a “virtual construction model.”

Innovation in Government Finalist: Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development, Dholera SIR, Dholera, Gujarat, India

Innovation in Government Finalist: Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development, Dholera SIR, Dholera, Gujarat, India. Image Courtesy of Bentley Systems

Why Digital?

On Tuesday, Bentley’s chief product officer, Bhupinder Singh, kicked off the keynote with a talk about how and why to go digital.

“Digital helps you extend the life of existing assets,” noted Singh. “We all have something in common: we have dedicated most of our professional lives to infrastructure. All of the quality of life on the planet is dependent on the quality of infrastructure. And sadly, we see evidence of infrastructure living far beyond its lifecycle. We need to make the built world more resilient in the face of extreme climate conditions, for example.”

Switching gears to a vision of a perhaps not-so-distant future, Singh asked the audience to imagine the combination of self-driving cars with roads equipped with self-sensing real-time sensors, that can report conditions back to us, with intelligence.

As sensors are now an integral part of the built environment, this is very feasible. In 2016, we will have 6.4 billion connected things and possibly 20.8 billion by 2040.

Seguey to CONNECTEdition that provides asset performance with AssetWise to OpenRoads. Data is more valuable in connected workflows where other vendors’ formats are supported, said Singh. The building blocks that connect CONNECTedition currently include:

  • ContextCapture for capturing real-time data from photos, laser scans and UAVs to add to BIM and other models;
  • AssetWise to get data into context, record all relevant information, bring in information from design and construction, then resurface it to improve performance, and to move on to the next iteration of that asset. “If you don’t have a connected environment you won’t be able to achieve BIM Level 3,” warned Singh. (BIM, or building information modeling, has been segmented into three levels of usage).
  • Analytics have traditionally resided on top of solutions, “but we want to offer it inside the platform, as well as surfacing it as its own tool as well,” said Singh. “We’ve been extending it, added statistical language with the R language, and working with the Microsoft team on deep machine learning.”
  • Technology can be made deliverable through a service, letting Bentley manage your environment for you by having a delivery model that makes sense for the given asset.

“In the past, we haven’t made it easy when moving from one model to another,” said Singh. “With ProjectWise or AssetWise, and the number of assets being managed, we want to size the value to the value the system is actually providing. This will make it easier for planning, experimentation, etc., so subscriptions are offered.”

Five categories of AssetWise subscriptions are:

  • Lifecycle information management SKA provides document management and records management.
  • Asset reliability – pulls everything together, using features to plan maintenance and inspection.
  • Compliance and safety – Crossrail uses this for routing permits for oversize vehicles
  • Operational analytics – looking at AssetWise data and other data management, make InSite part of the ongoing process of asset
  • Enterprise interoperability – get sub to connector you get to use same conduit while using other assets outside Bentley

CONNECTEdition OpenRoads – Concept Through Construction

Dustin Parkman, vice president, Civil and Reality Modeling, said the next generation of CONNECTEdition road design software OpenRoads provides concept through construction capability, on through detailed design and digital construction.

OpenRoads is advancing conceptual design using ConceptStation can create inspiring and innovative designs so users can prototype much earlier in the design process.

HNTB was able to create multiple complex interchanges in urban areas using OpenRoads ConceptStation.

With the new OpenRoads Designer, the successor to Bentley GEOPAK, users can take their design from conceptual design and move directly to detail design, rapidly model design intent as well as model all types of assets you need for a roadway asset. You can consume the data in 2D or 3D and the model is consequently updated along with plans, plan sets and models, you navigate from one to another. This product will be available December 1, 2016.

OpenBridge Modeler allows you to take the same design in ConceptStation and OpenRoads Designer into Modeler. These tools are all built on the same connected data environment. You can also take it out to analytics RBridge and Leap Bridge and take advantage of the same live concept.

With OpenRoads Navigator, you can take these designs and expand them to a broader audience, into construction.

Connect Advisor is a tool that adds onto your current apps that aggregates all your data from different workflows and documentation manuals and puts it together in one Advisor. You can have Bentley community posts piped in as well, and this can be subscribed to.

Analytical Modeling

OpenRoads includes 30-second clips you can view as you work contextually with your model being built around you, with the addition of streamed quick start guides. These capabilities are all available now.

Phil Christensen, vice president of Analytical Modeling, said that Bentley has rolled out CONNECTEditions of their analytical apps, Leap Bridge, RM Bridge, SACs STAAD, and Structural Navigator for mobile access.

Analytics Analysis and Simulation Services can use data from projects, models or analyses. You can create a specific model of the asset and observe its performance, simulating behavior of entire systems or series of models.

“We rolled out CONNECTEditions of our Optioneering to describe exploring options in context,” said Christensen, referring to the concept of “optioneering” that Greg Bentley had coined in a previous year to describe being able to analyze design options. By using SiteOpps for site analysis, integrating it with ContextCapture, users can try site optioneering in context.

“Inspectioneering,” the process of adding inspection data to the analysis process, allows you to attach inspection data to the model context. journey from traditional inspections with modern inspections, attaching inspection data to model context. Mobile inspections included in an analysis model context can be linked with engineering data and provide intelligent inspections.

The Rail Playbook is complex and features Bentley Rail Track, MicroStation, ProjectWise, OpenRoads, OpenRail, OpenRail ConceptStation, Asset Performance Modeling and Reality Modeling can also be brought in.

Tools for the Hybrid Environment

The Wednesday Keynote featured CEO Greg Bentley, who enthusiastically talked about ProjectWise for (dis)connected project delivery with ProjectWise CONNECTEdition, that assumes you will have a hybrid environment and use many devices and sources of information.

Going digital with ProjectWise, means improving project outcomes, leveraging a hybrid cloud environment and providing digital project delivery. Virtualizing talent, control cost and schedule are the name of the game.

Some of these users are running more than 1 million business process automations per month.

The company Black and Veatch has a connected data environment whereby with ProjectWise CONNECTEdition, they will be able to access hybrid cloud computing and connect the owner to contractor to subcontractor and to stakeholders and more.

All references files and security compliance needs to stay in country with Microsoft data centers around the world and will reside in the automated model.

Convergence of what have been separate offerings up until now is available with AssetWise CONNECTEdition.

“The data amongst the assets can talk together,” said Bentley. “AssetWise CONNECTEdition has a geospatial context, reality context, network and linear context, digital engineering model context, change integrity context, reliability context and enterprise IT context. We want to introduce innovations to improve capital project delivery.”

Two Clouds are Better Than One

Bentley announced a partnership with TopCon, manufacturers of surveying and GIS equipment, surveying construction and engineering all- use 3D models.

TopCon’s CEO Ray O’Connor opened his talk by complimenting Greg Bentley on his word, “constructioneering.” “Why didn’t we think of that? We are driven by an overriding vision – the automation of construction,” said O’Connor. “Constructioneering is the perfect word to grab the attention of what we’ve been working on.”

The primary vision for construction professionals is to build smart and sustainable infrastructure. TopCon ascribes to the “You can’t manage what you can’t measure,” principle, a good tag line for a company whose core business is precision measurement.

The growth of GIS and demand for BIM have spurred the demand for measurement exponentially. TopCon’s 3D automation system EarthWork and Magnet software suite provide continuous representations of reality.

“You can’t manage in real time what you can’t measure in real time. The data you work with is constantly updated to give you real time information always,” said O’Connor. By injecting these capabilities, they’re accelerating the industries’ ability to connect virtual and real.

Topcon provides a full suite of data capture capabilities. Data from these sensors can be stitched together in their Magnet suite or Bentley’s suite of tools. The seamless connection between Bentley and TopCon clouds provides a setting with no lost time, no lost data and “perfect harmony between measurement, design, construction and inspection.”

Clouds, Security and Transformation

David Epp, Microsoft, Bentley’s platinum sponsor, remarked that Microsoft’s mission was to “empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.”

With a new CEO, and renewed focus on customers and partners, the company has built more innovative stuff, and paid attention to how those technologies serve themselves.

“Partners like Bentley take technology and build things that are transformative,” said Epp. Microsoft has 70,000 partners around the world.

Microsoft is of course, a household name. We are all familiar with their Azure cloud, Office program and others that we use day to day. They have added large scale touch, voice, and written communication that make devices more personal and natural.

Azure is used by 85% of Fortune 500 companies and attracts 120,000 new Azure customer subscriptions per month.

Their servers are run by about 10 people. “No one person has both physical and logical access to servers, for a security point of view,” said Epp.

With an intelligent cloud, Microsoft has built in predictive analytics and deep machine learning. “It’s not about building a product, it’s about making every one of our services, and our partners, smarter,” said Epp.

New technologies spur innovation, such as facial recognition from or a new development by Friends of Uber: as a driver checks in, they can take a photo vetted by Uber, confirming that the person who is supposed to pick you or your child up is one of their drivers.


These are just examples of services that can turn intelligence into actions. Bentley affirms GIS and geospatial becoming more integrated into our daily lives more seamlessly. That integration comes first and foremost into a hybrid connected data environment, one that is supported by connected clouds and sensors and measurement and platform.

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Categories: 3D Cities, 3D designs, 3D PDF, airports, asset management, Bentley, Bentley Systems, Big Data, Building Information Modeling, citizen science, climate change, cloud, cloud network analytics, conversion, crowd source, data, disaster relief, drones, emergency response, field GIS, geomatics, geospatial, GIS, Google, government, GPS, image-delivery software, indoor location technology, integrated GIS solutions, lidar, location based sensor fusion, location based services, mapping, mobile, OGC, OpenGeo, public safety, resilient cities, spatial data, subsurface utilities, UAS, UAV, UAVs, Uber, utility geographic information systems, Year In Infrastructure 2016, YII 2016

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